As one of the founders of Scottish Opera, Peter Ebert oversaw some ambitious productions, including Wagner’s Ring Cycle and all five hours of The Trojans by Berlioz with a cast led by Janet Baker. The son of Carl Ebert, one of the first directors of the Glyndebourne festival, he won many awards for Scottish Opera and attracted singers eager to be associated with the company.
Born in Frankfurt, Peter Ebert fled with his family to Britain in the early 1930s to avoid Nazi persecution. After attending Gordonstoun school, he worked for the BBC in Glasgow and then became a producer with the London Opera Company.
He directed operas in many countries in mainland Europe, particularly in Italy, before working for the Wexford festival in the Irish Republic for more than ten years from 1952. Two years later, he and his father directed a Busoni opera at Glyndebourne.
In 1957, Ebert took charge of a production of Verdi’s Falstaff at Glyndebourne with Geraint Evans in the title role, a part with which Evans became associated from then on. Ebert founded Scottish Opera with Alexander Gibson and Peter Hemmings in 1962, and was its director of productions from 1965 to 1975.
One memorable collaboration of Ebert and Gibson was Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, which marked Scottish Opera’s first appearance at the Edinburgh Festival. Ebert went on to be the company’s general administrator, but financial problems loomed, culminating in a production of Wagner’s The Mastersingers of Nuremberg being cut short after the orchestra had gone on strike.
Ebert resigned from Scottish Opera in 1980 in some bitterness over the financing and future artistic policy of the company.
Peter Ebert, who was born on April 6, 1918, died on December 31, 2012, at the age of 94.
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